OAKLAND -- A Berkeley law firm has filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Irvine-based restaurant chain In-N-Out Burger maintains hiring practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color and age.

The suit, which was filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Tuesday, was filed on behalf of two black men from Oakland over the age of 40 who recently applied for jobs at In-N-Out Burger restaurants in Oakland and San Francisco but weren't hired.

The suit says both men were qualified for the jobs they applied for and alleges that they weren't hired because of their race and their age.

The suit alleges that In-N-Out Burger "recruits, hires and maintains a work force that is predominantly under the age of 40 and/or non-African-American."

The restaurant chain has 210 restaurants in California and thousands of employees but the suit charges that "very few" are over 40 and/or black.

Steve Tidrick, the attorney for the plaintiffs, said the suit alleges that In-N-Out Burger has "a pervasive policy of discrimination on the basis of race, color and age" in its hiring practices and seeks to end those practices through injunctive relief.

Tidrick said the suit also seeks back pay as well as compensatory damages and punitive damages on behalf of people who have been unlawfully denied employment with In-N-Out Burger.

Arnie Wensinger, In-N-Out Burger's vice president and general counsel, said, "In-N-Out Burger does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, race or age in our hiring policies or practices."

Wensinger said, "We hire from our local communities and our restaurants reflect the demographics of that community. The company will aggressively defend itself against these baseless and irresponsible allegations."